Electronic bikes deprive students of exercise, cash

For some students, riding their bike to classes is the only form of exercise they get. Sometimes the Student Recreation Center is either too far from students’ dorms or they don’t have time to hit the gym. So why would students want to invest in a bike that does all the work for them? Spending about $2,250 on a personally customized, electronic bike rather than peddling a $200 bike with their own energy is not better for students’ bodies or their wallets.

Taylor Hedberg, a senior studying entrepreneurship, management information systems and operation management, along with alumnus John-Mark Bantock and Eller College graduates Lindsey Erlick and Sam Ellis hatched a plan to start a bike-share program in 2010. But in September of that year in Las Vegas they thought of a different idea: the e-bike. The team attended the Interbike International Trade Expo, where they realized their original idea wasn’t what they wanted to sell at all. Thus, Velocis Bikes was born.

The company’s website says the e-bike is “powered by lithium ion manganese battery which is better than lead acid batteries.” This may be a greener form of battery, but it’s still a battery that needs to be disposed of. Nothing is more eco-friendly than peddling a bike with your own energy.

Around campus, the response was a definite yes when asked if they would prefer a manual bike as opposed to an e-bike.

“If I biked to classes, then at the end of the day my legs would be sore,” said Dario Foroutan, a business marketing freshman. “It definitely helped when I didn’t have time to go to the Rec Center.”

Marianella Meza, a family studies freshman, went even further by stating, “The electric bike completely changes the definition of a bike. Nothing is greener than physically moving the bike (yourself).”

With the obesity epidemic in mind, pedaling a bike for a mile or two every day wouldn’t hurt students at all. Every student worries about the freshman 15 at one point or another during their time in college. It may not seem much to bike to classes and around campus, when in fact, that little amount of exercise could be securing a longer life in the future. There are many students who actually do enjoy biking to classes and around campus, taking in the scenery and the breeze. It’s a stress reliever. It’s also satisfying to know that your legs are taking you where you want to go, and not the battery. Besides, if you knew you could go electric, wouldn’t you be tempted to use it instead?

Riding (or should I say sitting) on an electric bike defeats the purpose of owning a bike. With the retail price more than $2,000, the e-bike doesn’t make sense. Tuition and other associated costs are already burning a hole in students’ wallets — do they really want to spend more just so they don’t have to use their legs? A manual bike is the most eco-friendly, healthy and economical transportation.

— Cheryl Gamachi is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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Andrea
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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You say, “Riding (or should I say sitting) on an electric bike defeats the purpose of owning a bike. “ What is the purpose of owning a bike? For me, it is for FUN. Do you think the thousands, if not millions, of bikes sold in the US every year for kids is solely for exercise? No! Even the spandex-wearing bikers ENJOY riding their bikes or else they wouldn’t do it. Therefore, that does not defeat the purpose of owning a bike. Let’s try and be a little more open-minded. Not everyone is so fit that they can ride up steep hills to get to work or class, but still can use an electric bike to get some exercise, be green, get some time outdoors, and limit using their car. You still get a heck of a lot more exercise on an electric bike than you do in your car! Electric bikes are huge in Europe and it is a matter of time for the US to catch on!


js
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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CHERYL GAMACHI has never ridden an ebike. Only envious stares from her dark sad dorm room.


Chr
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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“A manual bike is the most eco-friendly, healthy and economical transportation.”

I suggest you do a little bit more research on your next article. Unless a regular bike rider is a organic vegetarian than a electric bicycle has less environmental impact than a regular bike. The typical American diet is hardly vegetarian. How much energy (oil) does it take to produce the food we eat? Its a lot and trust me if you bike a lot your food intake will increase.

I use my electric bike ($1100 cost with LifePO4 batteries) as mainly a car replacement. In that comparison its like a 1200 mpg motorcycle. I would rarely bike 15 miles each way to work on a regular bike due to lack of shower and my increased food costs. Don’t get me wrong, an electric bike will give you a good workout. For the 30 miles I ride its about equivalent of riding 10 miles on a regular bike with the offset of the motor input and faster speeds.


Erik Nelson
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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The problem with this article is that it assumes electric bikes are a direct replacement to regular bikes. I personally am currently building an electricity assisted cargo bike, but it is meant to be a replacement for a car on shorter trips, not a replacement for a bicycle. Riding that will not get me as much exercise as a normal bike, but it will allow me to carry rather heavy loads a good distance- and be far better than using a car. So, decently clean transport, and a lot of fun- why the hate because I dont have to manually propel it all the time? (I also love traditional biking, and am what most people would call “fit”)


orillia3
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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The purpose of a bicycle is transportation (fun and exercise are secondary benefits).

Using groceries as transportation fuel is not really green. It takes a lot of oil to grow, harvest, process, and transport food, and the human body is very inefficient ins converting expensive food into usable energy. Also farming and digestion produce a lot of methane which is 20 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. You also have to dispose of the spent grocery fuel (poop) which uses more energy and water. By contrast if you can produce electricity from a renewable source, you can get 60-80% efficiency and be green, as opposed to using food you only get 1-2% efficiency over all.


a603@zworg.com
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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You quote the comment that legs are sore from riding a bicycle all day is a good thing. I don’t want a sore anything at the end of the day. Did you know riding a regular bicycle seat can result in numbness and impotence and the danger increases with the amount of time ridden?


David Silva
(12/31/69 5:00pm)
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Most students drive cars, so the focus on something that replaces a car at a fraction of the cost, and allows you to get exercise at the same time is a little … strange..

I built my first electric bike from a kit for $700 and used it to assist me up hills, assist in headwinds, etc. It’s great because i am not physically wrecked after a 30 mile ride.

The electric bicycle is a freedom machine and should be welcomed as a way to get otherwise reluctant people out of their cars.